Oh the things we do for socialization! If it weren't for Dazzle, I would have NEVER been outside on a day like today. Certainly not standing by the side of a road to watch a parade in the snow and sub-freezing temps! But winter tends to limit opportunities for outdoor crowds and the horse drawn carriages were a nice unusual occurance to use for socialization. So I bundled up and we headed out into the snow.
The parade was part of the Winter Festival in downtown Lebanon Ohio (about an hour north of us.) We were at the very end of the parade, so the streets weren't as crowded or decorated as in town, but that was ok. It was slippery though. At least one of the horses we saw slipped and went down and had trouble getting back to his feet.I arrived early to meet with a few other troop members for lunch. The cafe where we had originally intended to eat was no longer in business, so we walked down main street and found an ice cream shop that also had other food. It didn't have a line like all the other places, but it didn't take long to realize it was because they had no tables. We ate there anyway and used the stools and chairs along the wall. Dazzle did well and mostly sat or laid down by me, even as new people were coming in and going out right behind him.
After we ate, we headed back out to find our spot along the road. I should get some boots for Dazzle because crossing the salted and wet roads, then walking on the snow on the sidewalk was really freezing his feet. He did stop to pick up a rear foot once, but that was the only indication he gave of a problem. I ran my gloved hand over the pads of his foot and knocked off the snow that had built up and after that he seemed fine. But I'll get him some boots anyway (even though I don't intend to be out walking much in the snow) just to protect his pads from the salt.
Once we reached our spot, closer to where the others had parked, they got their dogs out and Dazzle did a nice job of saying hi. He wanted to play, but he was wearing his SDIT vest, so I didn't let him. He has grown into the vest, which was too big for him when he was smaller. I had tried it on him when he was smaller, but it flopped and tickled his shoulders and he couldn't take 2 steps without biting at it. He's MUCH better about it now that it fits :-) In this photo he looks cold. He did get cold near the end, but he handles the cold a LOT better than I do! It's not visible in the photo, but Evelyn let him use the bath mat she had brought for her dog (who was barking and got put back in the car.) At first Dazzle didn't want to get on it. By the end of the parade, he had curled up on it. :-) Dazzle says "Thank-you Evelyn!"
We stood around freezing as we waited for the parade to start. Since we were at the end, it didn't start "on time" for us because the horses had to get through town first. But when the first few horses came down the street, they had the dog's full attention. A few barked, but Dazzle just watched silently. He was interested, but not overly intense. I continued to offer him treats, which he took, between horses. After the first 10 or so horses/carriages that went by, it was "old hat" and he wasn't as interested in them anymore. He still watched the ones that jingled though. He seemed to like the sound of the bells on their harnesses. There were horses and carriages of all types and sizes; from tiny mini horses about the size of a Rottweiler to the team of Clydsdales with massive hooves. The team of 6 tiny mini's pulling a mini stage coach was one of the cutest. The team of 6 jet black Percherons decked out in all silver gear was very impresive and beautiful. Dazzle took it all in stride.
Once the parade ended, a couple of the folks and their dogs walked main street to see the shops and listen to the Christmas music. But I couldn't feel my feet, all my joints were stiff and I was more than ready to leave. I sat in the van for a full 10 minutes with the heater blasting before I removed more than just my gloves. I was wearing 3 warm layers of clothes under a Carhart suit, insulated boots and a really thick/warm rabbit fur lined hat. But since my poor circulation generates very little heat, the cold air outside all those layers was winning. Dianne was sweet enough to give me some "hot hands" type heat pouches to put inside my gloves. It's the only thing that prevented my hands from going numb, so THANK-YOU Dianne! If I hadn't had an hour drive or if I had access to a changing room once I had arrived, I would have put on the self-warming heating pads designed for backs and knees. But I didn't want to sweat before going out in the cold, and couldn't get through the layers to apply them once I arrived, so I relied on the layers which didn't quite get the job done. I really hate the cold. Someday I'll live back in a warmer climate!
You'd think my outfit would be warm enough, but no! Dazzle watching the jingling horse. Our dogs got a lot of positive attention and good comments from the carriage riders and their walking helpers. A few asked what breed Dazzle is as they went past.
What the heck is it mom? (or "Can I go clean up the "cookies" the horse left me mom?")
Lots of bells on these horses caught his attention
Nice focus in light of all the distractions.
Nice focus in light of all the distractions.